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Gay, Merrick, 1802-1866

Merrick Gay Account Books, 1844-1849
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 242

A successful merchant from Gaysville, Vermont, Merrick Gay (1802-1866) operated a general store in his village for many years, later establishing a woolen factory. Gay served his community variously as postmaster, town clerk, and state senator.

These two daybooks document Gay’s business transactions with local individuals and firms and with the Town of Stockbridge and Narrows School District. The entries record the name of each customer, the method and form of payment (cash and goods), and Gay’s purchases, including labor costs for hauling freight.

Subjects
  • Barter--Vermont--Gaysville--History--19th century
  • Blanchard, Solomon, b. ca. 1816
  • Books--Prices--Vermont--History--19th century
  • Claremont Manufacturing Company--History
  • Freight and freightage--Rates--Vermont--History--19th century
  • Gaysville (Vt.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Gaysville (Vt.)--Rural conditions--19th century
  • Gaysville Forge Company--History
  • Gaysville Manufacturing Company--History
  • General stores--Vermont--Gaysville
  • Narrows School District--History
  • Stockbridge (Vt.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Waller, Israel
Contributors
  • Gay, Merrick, 1802-1866
Types of material
  • Account books
  • Daybooks

George Cooley & Company

George Cooley & Co. Ledger, 1843-1851
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 111

Ledger, begun by George Cooley in 1843 to record the accounts of his soapmaking business in the Cabotville section of Chicopee, continued by Titus Chapin, an ardent abolitionist, and Mordecai Cough who managed the business following Cooley’s death (or departure) in 1848. The 1843 date coincides with the coming of many small businesses to Cabotville in connection with the growth of industries there at the time.

Cooley accepted goods, services and cash as payment. The most frequently accepted goods had relatively obvious value to a soap maker: grease and ashes, tallow, pork, scraps and skins, and candles. Some of the services bartered were repairing wagon, shoeing horse, fixing wippletree, making 30 boxes, and covering umbrella. The business sold gallons, bars, and cakes of soap. Mount Holyoke Seminary bought 28 “fancy soaps”. Also listed were shaving soap and hard or hand soap. In addition, sales sometimes included candles, butter, mop handles, molasses, apples and potatoes, squashes, satinet, cheese, cord wood, paint, and rosin. Some of the listings were annotated with regard to the customer’s character: Ashad Bartlett was seen as “bad and poor and fights with his wife”‘ Norris Starkwether was “an honest man”; and Miss L.B. Hunt “eloped with a man”.

Subjects
  • Chicopee (Mass.)--History
  • Soap trade--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • George Cooley and Company

Gillett, Chauncey S.

Chauncey S. Gillett Daybook, 1841-1845
1 vol. (0.2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 417 bd

Although poorly known, Chauncey S. Gillett (1815-1846) appears to have carried on a relatively small custom at a general store in Southwick, Massachusetts, during the early 1840s. The son of Almon and Cinthia Gillett, Gillett traded in the typical range of groceries, dry goods, and other commodities, including buttons, cloth, paper, tobacco and tea, molasses, and candles, but also in liquors of various sorts (rum, gin, and brandy cider). Gillett died at the age of 30 on January 4, 1846, and is buried in Southwick.

Kept by the young Chauncey Gillett, this daybook records a chronological series of transactions at a general stores in Southwick, Mass., between 1841 and 1845. Among Gillett’s customers were several relatives, including Almon, Rhodolphus, and Levi Gillett, all of whom are also buried in the Southwick cemetery.

Subjects
  • General stores--Massachusetts--Southwick
  • Southwick (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Contributors
  • Gillett, Chauncey S
Types of material
  • Daybooks

Granville Brothers Aircraft Company Inc.

Granville Brothers Aircraft Company Collection, 1978-1980
2 items
Call no.: MS 911

Between 1929 and 1934, the Granville Brothers Aircraft Company manufactured their distinctive Gee Bee aircraft at the airport in Springfield, Mass., using a hangar converted from a former dance hall as their plant. Originally from New Hampshire, the five brothers drew upon their self-taught mechanical ingenuity in the years after the First World War to transform an automobile and aircraft repair business into aircraft design and production. The brothers flew their first craft in Boston in May 1929, a biplane they advertised as “the fastest and most maneuverable licensed airplane for its horsepower in the United States,” moving operations to Springfield later that year. Although only about two dozen Gee Bees were ever manufactured, the planes gained a wide reputation for their innovative aerodynamic designs, raw power, and extraordinary success on the air racing circuit. Gee Bees claimed speed records and numerous prizes, including the coveted Thompson Trophy in 1931 and 1932 won by pilots Lowell Bayles and Jimmy Doolitte, but the death of the eldest brother in a flying accident and the impact of the Great Depression caused the company to shutter in 1934.

Aviation historian Tom Nallen conducted a series of interviews with former employees of the Granville Airplane Co. beginning in the late 1970s, recording memories of the company and its workers, the Gee Bee planes, and their performance during the golden age of air racing.

Subjects
  • Airplanes--Design and construction
  • Gee-Bee (Racing plane)
Contributors
  • Granville, Robert
  • Nallen, Thomas E.
  • Roberts, Paul
Types of material
  • Audiocassettes
  • Oral histories
  • Sound recordings

Great Barrington and Alford Turnpike Corporation

Great Barrington and Alford Turnpike Corporation Records, 1833-1846

In June 1811, the Great Barrington and Alford Turnpike Corporation was incorporated with the aim of constructing a road at the northern end of the Fifteenth Massachusetts Turnpike, stretching from Great Barrington, Mass., through Alford and North Egremont before crossing the state line and ending in Hudson, New York. Under the direction of Josiah Milland and Jacob and John Van Deusen (who lived near the road), the corporation was apparently not exceptionally profitable. A leg of the turnpike through Great Barrington was made free in 1831, and in 1846, having failed in their petition to receive compensation for loss of privileges, the corporation transferred the road into public management.

Although only a slender 21 pages in length, this record book is nearly the only documentation of the finances for a small, but typical turnpike company in antebellum Massachusetts. The book includes somewhat sparse records of receipts from the toll booths and expenditures for maintenance, extending from 1833 until the corporation was dissolved in 1846. At the end of the book are two pages of personal expenses associated with a trip to Ohio.

Subjects
  • Great Barrington (Mass.)--History
  • Toll roads--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Milland, Josiah
  • Van Deusen, Jacob H.
  • Van Deusen, John

Griswold, Whiting, 1814-1874

Whiting Griswold Papers, 1837-1890
5 boxes (2.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 814

A politician hailing from Greenfield, Mass., Whiting Griswold was born in Buckland on Nov. 12, 1814, the son of Maj. Joseph Griswold. Earning his way through Amherst College (BA, 1838) by teaching in the local schools, Griswold studied law in the offices of Grennell and Aiken, but politics soon came to dominate his life. A serious player in partisan politics, he won election as a Democrat to the state House in 1848-1850 and then the Senate in 1851-1852. After taking part in the state Constitutional Convention of 1853, Griswold supported Buchanan for the presidency in 1856, but changed party to support Lincoln, winning terms in the state Senate on a Coalition vote in 1862 and as a Republican in 1869. Griswold was twice married: first, to Jane M. Martindale (1844), with whom he had two children, and second to Frances L. Clarke (1856), with whom he had three children, including the attorney Freeman Clarke Griswold (1858-1910), a graduate of Yale and Harvard law school (1884), who represented Greenfield in the State House in 1888.

The Griswold papers are dense collection documenting the lives and careers of two state-level politicians in Massachusetts during the years straddling the Civil War. Contents range from discussions of the political crises of the 1850s and Civil War to political agitation over railroad construction in Franklin County, to elections, political speeches, and papers written as a student. The collection includes five letters of the Transcendentalist minister James Freeman Clarke and some essays and correspondence from Freeman Griswold.

Acquired from M&S Rare Books, Mar. 2014
Subjects
  • Greenfield (Mass.)--History
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government
  • Massachusetts. House
  • Massachusetts. Senate
Contributors
  • Griswold, Freeman Clarke
Types of material
  • Broadsides

Grosvenor Family

Grosvenor Family Account Book, 1823-1827
1 vol. (0.15 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 340 bd

Account book of the Grosvenor famly from 1823-1827. The volume was later used a scrapbook to hold newspaper clippings, as a result much of content and context of the account book is obscured by its later use.

Subjects
  • Grosvenor family
Types of material
  • Account books

Halpern, Carl

Carl Halpern Papers, 1920-1986
2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 783
Image of Carl Halpern and family
Carl Halpern and family

Born in 1902, Carl Halpern grew up in the Bronx where he attended elementary school. Upon leaving school, he took several jobs, including shoe salesman and accounting clerk, before he was hired as an errand boy in 1917 at the Electro-Chemical Engraving Company. Halpern stayed with the company for more than 40 years, retiring as an Executive Vice President.

The collection consists chiefly of materials relating to Halpern’s tenure at Electro-Chemical Engraving Company, including company reports and inter-company memos, advertisements for products, and other materials related to the business. Of singular importance is Halpern’s memoir, which intertwines his personal history with that of the company during the nearly five decades he was associated with the business.

Subjects
  • Bronx (New York, N.Y.)
  • Electro-Chemical Engraving Company
  • Genealogy
Contributors
  • Halpern, Carl
  • Halpern, Joel Martin
Types of material
  • Memoirs

Harris, Carl C.

Carl C. Harris Papers, 1898-1960
12 boxes (18 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 667
Image of A slencil
A slencil

An inventor, entrepreneur, and corporate executive, Carl C. Harris was the third of four generations of his family to help manage the Rodney Hunt Company, a major manufacturer of waterwheels, turbines, and textile machinery based in Orange, Mass. While still in high school in 1898, Harris already displayed a sharp business and technical eye, establishing the first telephone company in Orange, and he began his career after graduation from Worcester Polytechnical Institute, working as a draftsman for GE and then as a superintendent at Rodney Hunt. After a brief stint at the Simplex Time Recorder Company in Gardner, Harris returned to Rodney Hunt for good in 1912. After acquiring a controlling interest in 1917, he remained with the company in several capacities through the Depression and Second World War, serving as general manager, vice president, and treasurer, and from 1938-1947, as president. Throughout his career, Harris remained active in developing or improving a variety of new products and processes, registering a total of 99 patents, and he regularly used his offices at Rodney Hunt to launch other, smaller enterprises, including the Slencil Company,which manufactured mechanical pencils; Riveto, which produced toys and a paper fastening device; and Speed-Mo, a manufacturer of a moistening pad system. Harris retired in 1956 and died four years later in Orange at the age of 79.

The Harris Papers are centered closely on the entrepreneurial activity of Carl C. Harris, and include a particularly thick set of business records for the Slencil Company (ca.1935-1960) and the Riveto Company (1930s-1940s), and the slender record book of the Home Telephone Company. In addition to these, the collection includes many dozen slencils, including prototypes, speciality models, presentation sets, store displays, and marketing designs; examples of Riveto toys, Simplex inventions, flotation devices, and other oddities invented by Harris, along with the associated patents.

Subjects
  • Orange (Mass.)--Economic conditions
  • Orange (Mass.)--History
  • Toys
Contributors
  • Harris, Carl C.
  • Riveto Company
  • Rodney Hunt Company
  • Slencil Company
  • Speed-Mo Company
Types of material
  • Realia

Hemenway, Phinehas

Phinehas Hemenway Daybook, 1818-1828
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 627

The tanner Phinehas Hemenway was born in Bolton, Worcester County, Mass., in September 1794, the fourth of six children born to Simeon and Mary (Goss) Hemenway, but he resided nearly his entire adult life in the Franklin County hill town of Shutesbury. Although little is known about his life, Hemenway appears to have married twice, to a Polly or Mary Gray in about 1816, and to the widow Mary Sears of Prescott in Aril 1838. Hemenway died in Shutesbury on December 21, 1850.

With approximately 150 pages of brief, but closely written records of daily transactions, the Hemenway daybook documents the range of activities of rural tannery in antebellum Massachusetts. Along with the names of clients, the date and amount, and a brief notation on whether the work was for dressing, tanning, currying, or (apparently) the sale of finished product, Hemenway records work in a variety of leathers, from calf to sheep, hog, and horse and from sole leather to upper leather, sometimes specified as for shoes. The daybook also includes credit entries for labor performed, the purchase of hemlock bark or hides, or more rarely for cash to settle accounts.

Subjects
  • Shutesbury (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Tanners--Massachusetts--Shutesbury
Contributors
  • Hemenway, Phinehas, 1796-1850
Types of material
  • Daybooks

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